BOULDER - The No. 6 ranked UCLA Bruins hit .530 to defeat the University of Colorado volleyball team 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-12) at the Coors Events Center on Friday night.
The Buffs played well despite the scores, hitting .230 with 37 kills. Neira Ortiz Ruiz led CU with 10 kills and also hit .190. Alexis Austin was second on the team with eight kills and Kelsey English and Nikki Lindow each recorded six kills. English had the best hitting efficiency for the Buffs at .364 with just two errors on 11 swings.
The Bruins had three hitters with 10 or more kills and each of them hit above .500. Tabi Love led UCLA with 17 kills and hit .640. Rachael Kidder was second on the team with 12 kills (.579) and Zoe Nightingale added 10 kills while hitting a match-high .643.
"We have a middle that's hitting close to .400; we have a setter that is hitting at .500; we have Neira who comes away with high kills for us today; but it simply isn't enough," coach Liz Kritza explained. "They have four hitters hitting over .500.
"They have two of the best outside hitters in the country as far as Love and Kidder, who are able to take so many swings and are so versatile. They have so many tendencies, but it takes a very experienced block to know exactly when to dive into their cross-court and when you leave the line, and I will attribute some of our blocking difficulties to our youth. I know that it'll come, but the more you play against hitters like this, the better you get; even if the result isn't what you want it to be."
Defensively the Buffs kept pace at the net with the Bruins, posting 4.0 team blocks to 5.0 for UCLA. English and Austin each recorded two block assists for the Buffs, while Ana Pantovic and Nikki Lindow each had one block assist. Ortiz Ruiz was the only player on either side to put up a block solo.
CU recorded 21 digs in the effort. Chelsey Keoho tied with UCLA's Bojana Todorovis for a match-best with nine digs.
UCLA took an early 7-2 lead to start the match and increased the advantage to 12-5. The Buffs tried to get back into the set, but weren't able to slow down the Bruins as they were attacking at a .552 clip. UCLA finished the game 25-15, holding the Buffs to a .200 hitting percentage.
The Buffs looked much better in the second set and kept it close before falling 25-22. The score was tied 17-17 before UCLA used a 3-0 run to take a 20-17 lead. CU didn't let up and rallied back to even the set at 22-22 but the Bruins finished the game with three straight points. The Buffs hit much better in the frame at .370, but again UCLA hit .500.
The third set started out like the first with UCLA taking a 10-4 lead. The Buffs fought but weren't able to close the gap as the Bruins continued to add to their lead and would eventually take the set 25-12. The Bruins hit .533 and held the Buffs to .133.
With the loss, CU is now 14-13 overall, 4-11 in the Pac-12. The Bruins improved to 19-5, 11-4 in the Pac-12.
The Buffs will play their final home match of the season on Saturday night at 7 p.m. against No. 8 USC. at 7 p.m. CU will honor its lone senior Michelle Miller. Admission is just $1 since November is Fan Appreciation Month.
"We are looking forward to coming out and finishing our home schedule strong against USC tomorrow night," Kritza said. "It will be another tough match, but this team is up for the challenge and we will be ready to give USC a fight on senior night."